Our verdict

The North Face Ultra Endurance II will require some ultra-endurance on the part of the athlete to get long-term use from them. I think they can work well for short hikes or as recreational softball cleats. In my case, they are perfectly decent yardwork shoes.

Pros

  • Good stability
  • Nice plush upper
  • Breathable
  • Decent traction

Cons

  • Narrow toebox
  • Stiff
  • Short runs only

Audience verdict

82
Good!

Tester's profile

I am a 41-year-old runner, about 170 pounds and 6’ 1” tall. I race all distances, from 5ks to Marathons, and spend at least half of my year training for an upcoming marathon.

Preliminary Fit

I was excited to receive these shoes since I have been pretty impressed by clothes produced by The North Face. I had never run in shoes made by The North Face, so I had no experience, though my expectations were high.

Fits large

Depending on the shoe and purpose, I either wear a size 12 or 12.5 in US Men’s.

I ordered size 12 for the Ultra Endurance and noticed they fit rather large. For me, the shoe fits a little long.

Narrow toebox

For my feet, the toe box seemed pretty narrow. Even with the larger sized fit, the sides of my feet felt compressed and uncomfortable.

Minimal arch support

The heel is plush and firm, keeping my heel firmly in place. The arch support is too minimal for my foot, however.

Although I’m not sure if it’s related, I experienced a minor injury to my right arch during the testing of these shoes.

Plush upper of the Endurance II

The upper is amazingly plush; almost unnecessarily so. Its thickness is nice, providing an extra element of security.

Firm and unforgiving cushioning

Unfortunately, the midsole cushioning is not as comfortable. The bottom half of the shoes felt extremely hard and unforgiving.

Only for short runs

The Ultra Endurance II worked well enough for short runs. I did some longer runs – one more than 12 miles – and did not enjoy the shoes at all. The longer I ran in the shoes, the sorer my feet became, and I could not wait until the run was over.

This was perhaps due to a combination of the narrowness, minimal arch support, unforgiving mid-sole, and hardened outsole. On one of the longer runs, I commented to my running partner that it felt like I was running in baseball cleats.

I do not hike much, but maybe this shoe is a better choice for the walker/hiker, than the runner. Although, after every run, whether it was 30 minutes or 90 minutes, I was anxious to get the shoes off my feet.

Decent traction

As poorly as this shoe performed, in my humble opinion, there were some terrains it seemed better suited to than others. The tread provided decent traction, but because of the hard tread and firm midsole, I preferred to run on softer terrains than firmer.

The outsole protrudes well beyond the heel which, I think, provides additional stability on uneven or loose terrains. Below, I rank the terrains for which I think this shoe is best suited, from best to worst:

I was able to muster a little over 76 miles in these shoes, and I see virtually no wear and tear.

Not only that but with seemingly no soft foam in the midsole, there is probably very little cushioning to break down over time. That being the case, these shoes seem like they would, unfortunately, last forever.